Apricot BBQ Chicken Skewers

Apricot BBQ Chicken Skewers Low Fat Recipe

Apricot BBQ Chicken Skewers
Serves 3-4
Can be doubled | Can be halved | Makes great leftovers | Can be frozen*
Vegetarian Substitutes

These are so good. Usually you’d think of cooking chicken skewers on a grill, but lately I’ve been cooking these in a skillet with great success. In a pan the sauce has a chance to really caramelize and coat the chicken, whereas on the grill most of the sauce cooks off. Cook up a batch and keep them in the fridge for a quick snack anytime. Or, marinate a whole batch, cook up half and *freeze the other half for future use. To really infuse the chicken with flavor make sure you marinate for at least 6-8 hours or, even better, 24 hours before cooking. These skewers also make great party food or appetizers!      ~ Susan

Ingredients:

1 lb boneless skinless chicken thighs trimmed of all excess fat
1/4 cup fruit-sweetened apricot preserves
2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar or white wine vinegar
1/2 cup all natural BBQ sauce – we love OrganicVille original
1 teaspoon granulated garlic
1 teaspoon sea salt

Instructions:

Cut trimmed chicken thighs into large bite size pieces.

In a large mixing bowl combine the apricot preserves, vinegar, BBQ sauce, granulated garlic and sea salt.

Add the chicken and mix very well to coat evenly.

Place chicken and all the sauce in a storage container and marinate for at least 6 hours, overnight is ideal.

Thread marinated chicken onto skewers (make sure they will fit in your skillet), leaving space at either end of skewer.

Heat a large non-stick skillet or well seasoned cast iron pan over medium heat and add skewers. Cook skewers, turning a few times, until chicken is cooked throughout and sauce is nicely caramelized. My trick is to keep adding a bit of water to the pan as they cook, so the sauce doesn’t dry out or burn before the chicken is cooked, then I let the water and sauce dry out a little, so it caramelizes and gets nice and thick. Lastly, swirl the chicken skewers through the thickened sauce to make sure plenty of it sticks to the chicken.

Serve these hot, or let cool to room temp.

Serving Suggestions:

As an appetizer you can put one or two of these on a small plate, with a leaf of lettuce underneath.

For a meal, these go great with rice, or roasted vegetables, or boiled new potatoes. We always add a big crunchy salad with lots of colorful vegetables tossed in.

Vegetarian Substitutes:

Try firm extra cubed tofu or seitan in place of the chicken.

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Golden Chicken Indian Curry

Golden Chicken Indian Curry Low Fat Recipe

Golden Chicken Indian Curry
Serves 3
Can be doubled | Can be halved | Makes great leftovers | Can be frozen
Vegetarian Substitutes

Here’s another Indian-inspired recipe from our home kitchen. Every time we have this for dinner we find ourselves commenting on just how delicious it is. The sauce is rich and flavorful without using a lot of butter or cream, the trick is thickening it with a bit of cornstarch! I use boneless skinless chicken thighs – we like the richer flavor of the dark meat with this ensemble of spices and sauce, but I’ve also made it for clients with all white meat and it receives glowing reviews. We love the slightly pungent flavor of the green peppers mixed with the hint of sweet spice, but if you’re not a fan of green peppers, you can use sweet bell peppers in their place.      ~ Susan

Ingredients:

1 lb boneless skinless chicken thighs – trimmed of all excess fat
1 tablespoon butter or ghee
1 medium yellow onion – quartered and thinly sliced
1 medium green pepper – quartered and thinly sliced
1 1/2 teaspoons ground coriander
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon turmeric
a scant 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon sea salt (more or less to your own taste)
1/4 cup water
1 tablespoon water mixed with 1 teaspoon cornstarch
sliced or chopped fresh tomatoes for garnish
sliced scallions or chopped cilantro for garnish

Instructions:

Cut the trimmed chicken thighs into bite size pieces.

Heat the butter in a nonstick skillet (or a well-seasoned cast iron pan). Add onions and sauté on medium heat until lightly browned (about 5-7 minutes).

Add chicken and sauté another 5-7 minutes.

Add green pepper, spices, salt and 1/4 cup water. Stir to combine everything, cover, reduce heat to low and simmer for 7-8 minutes or until pepper is soft and tender.

Add the 1 tablespoon of water mixed with the teaspoon of cornstarch and stir until sauce thickens.

It’s ready! Taste and adjust any spices to your liking, add something hot if you like such as cayenne pepper or hot chile flakes, and plate it up!

Serving Suggestions:

Our classic pairing is with some brown basmati rice and a big salad, but it’s also really good with chapati, or even mashed potatoes!

Vegetarian Substitutes:

Firm cubed tofu or sliced seitan are both really good in place of the chicken, just omit the sautéing step and add either of these along with the spices and water.

Green Bean and Ginger Chicken

Green Bean and Ginger Chicken
Serves 2 to 3
Can be Doubled| Can be Halved| Makes Great Leftovers| Freezes Well
Vegetarian Substitutes

This recipe is another Tess creation- she made this with some leftovers we had in the fridge for Meenakshi’s lunch. It looked and smelled so good that I added it on to the following week’s menu. Chinese restaurants make similar dishes but obviously with loads more oil. So next time you’re craving Chinese takeout, try this instead- it’ll be ready to eat before your delivery order arrives.     ~Shivani

Ingredients:
1 tablespoon of canola oil
1 pound of chicken breast cutlet, cut into strips
1/2 pound green beans, ends trimmed
1 medium tomato, finely chopped
1 medium onion, finely chopped
1 tablespoon of grated ginger
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1/4 cup low-sodium soy sauce (we love the Kikkoman brand)
black pepper, to taste

Instructions:

In a large large non-stick pan, warm oil over medium heat and saute onion until it starts to soften, about three minutes.

Add in garlic and ginger, and saute two minutes.

Add in tomatoes, and saute for one minute.

Add in chicken, and saute for three to five  minutes or until partially cooked. Take care not to cook the chicken all the way or else it will overcook.

Add in green beans and soy sauce, and cook until beans are soft and chicken is done.

Vegetarian Subsitutes:

Try the recipe with cubed tofu instead of chicken.

Serving Suggestions:

You’re already getting in protein and veggies so for your starch fix, try brown rice or soba or buckwheat noodles.

Savory Chicken & Vegetable Saute

savory chicken & vegetable sautee low fat recipe

Savory Chicken & Vegetable Saute
Serves 2
Can be doubled | Can be halved | Makes great leftovers | Can be frozen
Vegetarian Substitutes

This is a quick stir fry, using savory herbs and sea salt instead of the Asian flavors typically associated with the term “stir fry”. We created this dish on a whim the other night when we had a rare evening at home and not much in the fridge, but really wanted a home cooked meal instead of ordering out. It’s one of those recipes where you can dig around in the vegetable drawer and make a number of tasty variations. In addition to the vegetables we used below, I’d go for green beans, zucchini, yellow squash, asparagus, snap peas, leafy greens, mushrooms – any combination would be delicious! The main ingredient I’d really miss in this mix is the tomatoes, so as long as you’ve got those to toss in you’ll have a great dinner in minutes!     ~ Susan

Ingredients:

1 large or 2 small boneless skinless chicken breasts – thinly sliced into bite size pieces
2 teaspoons + 1 teaspoon olive oil
1/2 cup onion – minced
1 large green (or red or yellow) pepper – diced
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme leaves
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano leaves
3 cups broccoli florettes
1 cup little tomatoes – cut in half
1/4 cup water
sea salt & black pepper to taste

Instructions:

Heat a large nonstick (or well seasoned cast iron) skillet over medium heat. Add 2 teaspoons of oil and use a spatula to spread the oil evenly over the surface. Add chicken and stir fry just until cooked throughout and a little browned. Remove from pan and set aside.

In the same skillet add the remaining 1 teaspoon of oil and the use the spatula again to coat the surface of the pan with the oil. Add the onion and peppers and sauté over medium heat for 2-3 minutes, until they are getting lightly browned. Add the thyme and oregano and sauté 1 minute more. Add the broccoli, tomato, and 1/4 cup water along with sea salt & black pepper to taste.

Stir it all together and let mixture cook for about two minutes, stirring frequently, until broccoli is bright green and all water is evaporated. Serve hot!

Serving Suggestions:

We enjoyed this for dinner with a side of simple quinoa pilaf (I added some chopped celery, onion & carrot to the pot along with a dash of sea salt and cooked it in with the quinoa).

It would also be good tossed with hot whole grain pasta, or over brown rice.

Vegetarian Substitutes:

Try seitan or diced firm tofu in place of the chicken. Either one will be equally delicious!

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Moroccan Chicken Stew

moroccan chicken stew low fat recipe

Moroccan Chicken Stew
Serves 6
Can be doubled | Can be halved | Makes great leftovers | Freezes well

This a great meal to make in advance when guests are coming over. It gets better overnight and can even be made a few days in advance if necessary. If you double the recipe you can freeze half of it and you’ve got a handy stash of nourishing dinner food ready to go for moments when you’re pressed for time. It’s smart to have delicious dishes like this prepped in advance — sometimes, after a busy day it’s just a joy to do nothing but throw a loaf of fresh bread dough into the oven while reheating a pot of this tantalizing stew. The flavors are fantastic, and the meal is truly satisfying even though it’s got barely any added fat per serving!      ~ Susan

Ingredients:

2 lbs boneless skinless chicken (we like a mix of light and dark)
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 large onion – halved and thinly sliced
2 large garlic cloves – minced
1/2 cup apricots
1/4 cup raisins
2 tablespoons lemon juice
2 1/2 teaspoons cumin
1 1/2 teaspoons oregano
1 teaspoon cinnamon
2 large bay leaves
2 tablespoons tomato paste – thinned with 1/2 cup water
sea salt & fresh ground pepper to taste
water as needed

Instructions:

Cut the chicken into large chunks.

Heat a a large soup pot (I use an enameled cast iron pot) over medium high heat. Reduce heat to medium, add the oil and the onions and sauté for one minute or until onions just begin to brown.

Add garlic and sauté another 30 seconds.

Add the remaining ingredients and enough water to come up even with the top of the ingredients in the pot.

Bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce heat to medium low, cover and simmer 30 minutes. Taste and adjust seasonings to your liking, simmer another 30 minutes or until chicken is very tender and apricots have basically “melted” into the braising liquid.

Serve it hot, garnished with fresh chopped parsley, cilantro, or scallions, or all three.

Serving Suggestions:

We love this stew garnished with chopped parsley or cilantro and sliced scallions, along with a big green salad and some freshly baked crusty whole grain bread.

Moroccan chicken stew also goes great with a side of steamed green beans and a whole grain cous cous, brown rice, Isreali couscous pilaf or a wholesome quinoa dish (stay tuned for a red quinoa/chickpea side dish which is a great accompaniment – to be featured in next week’s post).

Vegetarian Substitutes:

Try making this stew with seitan or cubed tofu, adjusting cooking tines as needed. It’s also fantastic made with chickpeas in place of the chicken.

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Ground Chicken Breast Tacos

Ground Chicken Breast Tacos
Serves 4
Can Be Doubled| Can Be Halved| Makes Great Leftovers| Freezes Well

Who doesn’t love a good taco? I was never a big taco eater until I met Mahir, who is borderline obsessed. Wherever he was, he always hunted for a Taco Bell so he could get his fix. When we started making over all our food favorites, finding a taco substitute that would work under the tablespoon of oil philosophy was a top priority. I can’t take credit for this recipe- Mahir experimented several times before he came up with a version he was satisfied with. Our take uses Indian spices, but, with the exception of garam masala, the others are common in both Indian and Mexican cooking. Try these tacos with the roasted tomato salsa from last week. When we have these on the menu, we use two pounds of meat so we can enjoy them for several meals. Mahir can eat them at least four times and still not tire of them! And those Taco Bell visits? It’s been more than five years since we even thought about visiting one!     ~Shivani

Ingredients:

1 pound ground chicken breast
1 red onion, finely chopped
1 14-ounce can unsalted diced tomatoes
3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
2 teaspoons ginger, finely chopped
1 teaspoon coriander powder
1/2 teaspoon cumin powder
1/2 teaspoon garam masala
2 bay leaves (optional)
2 teaspoons of olive or canola oil
1 large handful of cilantro, finely chopped

Instructions:

Heat oil over medium heat in a large non-stick pan.

Lower the heat to medium-low, and fry the onions, garlic, ginger and , if using, bay leaf, until onions are soft and clear, about 15 minutes.

Add tomatoes, spices and chicken.

Cover the pan but keep stirring frequently to make sure chicken doesn’t clump.

Cook until chicken is done, about 15 minutes.

Top with cilantro.

Serving Suggestions:

Tuck inside a whole wheat tortilla, tacos shells or a brown rice tortilla. Top with jalapeno cheese if you like and salsa, shredded lettuce and hot sauce. You can also mix with brown rice.

Vegetarian Substitutes:

If you’re meatless, you can use ground seitan instead of chicken.

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Turkey Burgers

Turkey Burgers Low Fat Recipe

Turkey Burgers
Serves 3
Makes great leftovers | Freezes well | Can be doubled | Can be halved

Turkey burgers are great for a quick meal – in less than ten minutes you’ve got them on the table! We watch the prices at the grocery store, and when our favorite ground turkey (humanely raised, cage free, etc.) goes on sale we grab a few 1-pound packages to put in the freezer. A fun thing about turkey burgers is that everyone can dress them up to their own liking. You can add a splash of hot sauce, barbeque sauce, A1 sauce, or whatever condiments make your taste buds happy. I like mine with lots of mustard!       ~ Susan

Ingredients:

1 lb ground turkey (or chicken) – breast or dark meat, either one
1 teaspoon granulated garlic
1 tablespoon worstershire sauce
1 teaspoon sea salt -more or less to taste
fresh ground black pepper to taste
lettuce leaves
sliced tomatoes
sliced red onion
pickles
whole grain burger buns or bread (or your favorite gluten-free variety)
condiments as you like

Instructions:

Mix the ground turkey with the granulated garlic, worstershire sauce, salt and pepper, using your hands to mix it all together well.

Form the mixture into three patties, and make them quite flat (they will “puff up” as you cook them).

Heat a well-seasoned cast iron pan or a non-stick skillet on medium heat and add a small drizzle of olive oil. Use a non-scratching spatula to spread the oil evenly over the bottom of the skillet.

Cook burgers for about 3-4 minutes, or until the bottoms are nicely browned. Flip burgers and cook a couple more minutes. I turn off the heat and cover them for a couple of minutes to make sure they’re cooked all the way through without worrying about burning them.

Serving Suggestions:

Let each person dress the burger to their own liking and serve with oven roasted potatoes, sweet potatoes,  butternut squash (or a combination) and/or a big salad.
A leftover turkey burger with all the trimmings makes for a very healthy lunch when served with baby carrots as a crunchy side dish.

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Poached Chicken Salad

Poached Chicken Salad
Serves 2
Can be doubled| Can be halved| Makes great leftovers

I can’t take complete credit for this recipe. Back when Susan used to cook for us, I was desperate for tasty yet light lunch options, and this was one of the first creations she presented me with. I was blown away right away, but I never thought to ask her for the recipe because I always imagined it as something complicated. But I had such an intense craving for it when I was pregnant, and when I called to ask her how to make it, I was stunned by the simplicity. Indian style curry powder isn’t something that’s traditionally used in chicken salad, but that’s the touch which makes this a unique recipe. I make it a few times a week for lunch when I’m home. Meenakshi shares it with me, and Mahir often requests it to take for lunch as well. Three happy Voras with one easy recipe.     ~Shivani

Ingredients:

2 chicken breasts (about 1/2 pound)
1 medium carrot, finely chopped
2 celery stalks, finely chopped
1 bunch of scallions, finely chopped
1 handful of cilantro, finely chopped (optional)
1 tablespoon of low-calorie vegan mayo (I love the one by Spectrum)
1/2 to 1 teaspoon curry powder
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper (optional)
salt and pepper, to taste

Instructions:

Boil the chicken breasts in a pot of water until done, about 10 to 15 minutes depending on the thickness of the breast, reserving about a tablespoon of the water.

Once cool, shred with your fingers or finely chop with a knife.

Mix with the vegetables, spices, mayo, cilantro and water (this makes the salad especially moist).

Serving Suggestions:

Try this salad tucked inside a whole wheat pita, in between two slices of bread or on top of greens with some whole grain crackers on the side. Canned tuna would also make a great substitution.

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Spinach Salad with Grilled Chicken, Goat Cheese, Spiced Pecans & Fig Balsamic Vinaigrette

Spinach Salad with Grilled Chicken, Goat Cheese, Spiced Pecans and Fig Balsamic Vinaigrette

Spinach Salad with Grilled Chicken, Goat Cheese, Spiced Pecans & Fig Balsamic Vinaigrette
Serves 2
Can be doubled | Can be halved | Vegetarian Substitutes

Sweet, tart, savory, tangy, earthy, it’s all in there, and good for you too. The fig balsamic dressing will knock your socks off – so rich and creamy it’s hard to believe there’s only a tablespoon of oil in the whole batch! When you combine it with the other textures and flavors in this eye-catching composed salad, it’s really worth the steps it takes to get the finished dish on the plate. And truly, each step is easy and quick. If you’re pressed for time or like to prep things in advance, this is a great recipe to have on hand. Grilled chicken breast keeps for days in the fridge, as does the dressing and the spiced nuts when stored in airtight containers. Another time saver – buy crumbled goat cheese so that when you’re ready to serve you can put it all together in a snap.   ~ Susan

Ingredients:

1 boneless skinless chicken breast – sliced into 2 cutlets
1/3 cup crumbled goat cheese
4-5 cups baby spinach leaves

1/3 cup chopped pecans
1 teaspoon honey or agave nectar
2 teaspoons warm water
1/4 teaspoon each sea salt & ground black pepper

1 dried turkish fig, chopped into 4 pieces
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
1 tablespoon honey or agave nectar
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/4 cup water
sea salt & fresh ground black pepper to taste

Instructions:

Chicken: Brush the chicken cutlets lightly with olive oil, season with salt & pepper and grill just until cooked throughout. Cool and slice on the diagonal into thin slices.

Pecans: In a small bowl stir together the honey, water, salt & pepper. Toss the nuts well to coat in the mixture and toast in a 300F oven for just a few minutes, until lightly toasted. Set aside to cool. Time saver – use parchment paper on the baking sheet to make cleanup a non-issue.

Dressing: Put the chopped fig, balsamic and red wine vinegars, honey or agave nectar and water into the blender, cover and blend until nicely emusified. Add more water if you want it thinner. Season to taste with sea salt & plenty of fresh ground pepper and blend again.

Compose the salad: Arrange a bed of spinach leaves on 2 plates, top artfully with the chicken slices, crumbled goat cheese and spiced pecans. Serve the dressing on the side so each person can drizzle as much as they like.

Serving Suggestions:

Warm or toasted whole grain bread makes a nice accompaniment. If you’re really hungry, add a cup of soup too – carrot ginger, butternut squash, or mushroom soup would be good choices.

Substitutions:

Try ripe pear slices in place of the chicken breast, it’s fantastic!

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Shredded Chicken and Cabbage Salad Dressed with Nuoc Nam

vietnamese chicken cabbage salad

Shredded Chicken and Cabbage Salad Dressed with Nuoc Nam
2 – 3 generous servings
Can be doubled | Can be halved | Makes great leftovers
Vegetarian substitutes

This is my re-creation of the same dish served at Van’s, our favorite Vietnamese restaurant in Albany, NY. It’s another fantastic no-oil recipe to add to your collection. Yeah right, a delicious salad with no oil?  Seriously, trust me.  When you’ve got nuoc nam as the dressing, all you need is a garnish of chopped peanuts and you’re all set. We love this salad for spring and summer, it’s crunchy and satisfying with fresh, vibrant flavors. Even when Scott and I are the only two at the dinner table I always make a whole batch – leftovers make a great lunch the following day. You’ll probably end up with some extra nuoc nam, which is a good thing! It keeps very well in the fridge and you’ll no doubt find yummy uses for it, I mention a few ideas below.     ~ Susan

Ingredients – Nuoc Nam Sauce:

2 cloves garlic – minced
3 tablespoons sugar, sucanat or agave nectar
2 tablespoons fresh squeezed lime juice
½ cup warm water
6 tablespoons fish sauce (or soy sauce)
optional – ½ teaspoon hot chile flakes or hot chile sauce, or a few slices of fresh hot chiles

Mix all sauce ingredients together until the sugar or sucanat is completely dissolved. Store in a jar in the fridge. This is a great marinade for meats, chicken, fish, shrimp, tofu….

Ingredients – For the salad:

2 boneless skinless chicken breasts – each sliced in half to make 2 cutlets
4 cups very thinly sliced green cabbage (or buy pre-shredded cabbage in the grocery store)
½ cup fresh basil leaves – torn into bite size pieces
1 cup coarsely shredded or julienned carrots
½ cup thinly sliced red onions
1/4 cup finely chopped peanuts for garnish

Instructions:

Poach the chicken cutlets for a few minutes (no more than 5) or until just cooked throughout. Remove them from poaching water and set on a plate to cool to room temperature. You can save poaching water in the fridge or freezer to use as a future soup or sauce base.

When chicken is cooled, slice each cutlet in half to make two long strips, and shred the meat with your fingers.

Meanwhile assemble your other ingredients.

Place the cabbage, basil leaves, carrots and onions in a large mixing bowl.

Add shredded chicken.

Toss mixture with just enough nuoc nam sauce to flavor the dish to your liking. Let mixture sit for 10 minutes and stir once more.

Garnish each serving with a sprinkle of chopped peanuts.

Serving Suggestions:

This salad is great served atop a big lettuce leaf with a side of warm rice vermicelli simply seasoned with a little soy sauce (I use wheat-free tamari to keep it gluten-free). Or if you’ve got the time and inclination, summer rolls filled with sauteed mushrooms, cilantro and rice vermicelli are a great accompaniment too. Dip the rolls in nuoc nam or a little soy sauce mixed with fresh lime juice.

Vegetarian Substitutes:

Shredded seitan would work instead of chicken. And you can substitute soy sauce for the fish sauce.

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